FORSYTH — Saturday was a big day for twin brothers Paul and Cade Johnstone.
The duo combined for five total touchdowns as the Forsyth Dogies defeated the Ennis Mustangs 50-38 in the 8-Man football semifinals to advance to the state championship game next weekend. Both of them were then gathering with family and friends later in the day, as the two were going to sign their letters of intent to join the University of Montana's track and field team for next year.
The win over Ennis means Forsyth will play in the school's first-ever state championship game at Drummond-Philipsburg next Saturday. The game is in Philipsburg and the starting time is to be announced.
A memorable weekend to say the least.
"That's a neat thing for them and we're just excited," Forsyth coach Shawn Hollowell said about the twins.
Paul jump-started the Dogies as well as any coach would hope. On the opening kickoff, he sprinted straight up the middle of the field and outran everyone to give Forsyth a 6-0 lead just 11 seconds into the game.
On the next kickoff, Paul did it again, this time breaking about four tackles and juking a few more en route to scoring.
"I just saw that first wedge and saw the hole and was excited. It was insane. I knew I was going to score," Paul said. "Everyone picked up their blocks and it was amazing. That was the best blocking we've had all year on a kick return. Then that second one, the adrenaline was just going and it was great."
Johnstone was on the receiving end of two deep passes from quarterback Caleb Knoche that went for scores in the second quarter. The first went for 43 yards and the second for 30, as Forsyth's offense got hot early and grabbed a 32-8 lead. Paul also recovered a fumble that Knoche forced right before their second touchdown connection.
His brother Cade's lone touchdown came about four minutes later, when Knoche found him open for an 18-yard score. Forsyth led 44-14 at halftime.
"We kind of came out today and tried to incorporate some passing instead of just grinding away and running at them," Cade said. "It ended up working."
Ennis began to chip away in the second half, as they held Forsyth to only one touchdown. Corbin Wood ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns while his brother Tanner threw for a score and ran for another to bring Ennis back within striking distance. Ennis outscored Forsyth 24-6 in the second half.
Nathan Weber added two rushing touchdowns and a passing score for Forsyth.
"Forsyth's a heck of a team," Ennis coach Chris Hess said. "They deserve to be in the championship. They outplayed us today. It was pretty evenly matched. I wish we could take back those special teams scores early but that's part of the game. Happy for Forsyth and wish them all of the luck in the championship and I think they'll have a good shot there too."
After hosting their first three playoff games, the Dogies will hit the road to take on the Drummond-Philipsburg for the title.
"I've been coaching 34 years and I've never been to one," Hollowell said. "I'm so proud of our kids. Ennis made a great run at us in the second half and our kids buckled in when we needed to."
"It's amazing because in junior high we went undefeated and we all talked about how we wanted to work hard for this moment," Cade added. "Now we're here, so it's crazy."